Many cell phone users say they've been receiving text messages that appear to offer gift cards and cash prizes lately. The messages claim to be from big companies like Apple, Walmart or your phone company, but don't be fooled by your phone.
Rick Farmer said he was doing some yard work at his home in Parma, Ohio, when he got a text message notifying him that he won an iPad 3. The message said he had one hour to call in and claim his prize. Farmer was skeptical.
"I can barely make my phone work. I have no use for one of those," said Farmer
While Farmer had no use for the iPad, you may have a use for cash. Some texts try to lure you in with $1,000 cash. Some even come from local numbers claiming to be from Best Buy. Farmer's text appeared to be from AT&T.
Most companies won't do business with you via text, unless you request confirmation of something. Most of these senders are really after other information.
"I feel that they're wanting me to go online and they're going to try to get some information out of me. Who knows what," said Farmer.
So how do you stop these annoying texts? Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all said forward the unwanted text to "SPAM" or 7726. It is free to send and receive texts to that number.
"When you send that message to us, and you say this is unwanted, that lets us know and we can use that information and it helps us in some cases we can block or terminate the account of the spammer. In other cases, we can just use that information to filter those spam texts out and make sure they don't hit your phone in the first place," said Holly Hollingsworth, an AT&T Spokesperson.
Farmer has a message of his own for anyone who received a text like he did.
"If anybody gets them, don't give your information out," said Farmer.
There are additional ways you can report unwanted calls and texts, depending on who your cell phone provider is. You can also block certain phone numbers all together. Some carriers offer extra protection for a few dollars a month. Check with your provider for more details.
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